Today in the Senate: Important Amendments

Today, the Senate will vote on several amendments to MAP-21 (S.1813), the Senate transportation bill. One amendment, offered by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Burr (R-NC), would insert the long-stalled and now infamous NAT GAS Act into the bill. The amendment would provide significant subsidies for all aspects of the natural gas vehicle industry – from the production of natural gas-powered vehicles and the purchase of these vehicles to the installation of fueling stations and even the fuel itself.

So far, the NAT GAS Act has gone nowhere due to conservative opposition. Twenty co-sponsors have dropped off the House version of the bill, a historic feat, and a new editorial in The Washington Times details exactly who would benefit from the passage of the NAT GAS Act (hint, not the tax payers, but folks who are more than capable of engaging in private financing – billionaires like T. Boone Pickens and George Soros).

Proponents of the legislation falsely claim it is needed in order to jumpstart the natural gas industry. Actually, the natural gas industry does not need this subsidy, because it’s already responding to market forces and the rising price of gasoline. Compressed natural gas (cng) is selling for the equivalent of about $2.59 per gallon of gasoline, whereas the current price of regular gasoline hovering around an average of $3.76 – and expected to go higher.

And guess what? Without the government picking winners and losers, other industries are picking up on this. Chrysler, GM and Ford will all be releasing bi-fuel (gasoline and cng) versions of their popular pickup trucks. The shipping industry too is making the switch to natural gas to save money.

So why do taxpayers need to subsidize this industry, which is clearly succeeding on its own?

Instead of increasing government spending in order to provide more corporate welfare for billionaires, we should eliminate existing energy subsidies and prevent new ones. President Obama likes to continue saying that the oil companies receive $4 billion in subsidies each year, without pointing out the far higher amount of subsidies given to alternative energies like wind and solar.

Which brings us to the next important amendment for the day: Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) repeal of energy tax subsidies. This amendment would eliminate all targeted energy tax subsidies, including those for the oil companies, in order to level the playing field and let all energy sources compete based on their own merits of affordability and efficiency. It would also reduce the corporate tax rate to make America more competitive in the world. The free market will decide what works best, not the government.

Related Links:
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on the Stabenow Amendment
Key Vote Alert: “YES” on the DeMint Energy Freedom Amendment
Key Vote Alert: “YES” on the DeMint State Authority Amendment
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on the Nat Gas Act Amendment
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on the Senate Transportation Bill

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